There are many people who flat out refuse to let anyone else ride their horse and I never fully understood this. If one ride by someone other than you or a professional will “break” all the training, then I don’t think that horse is all that well trained after all. Kinda like a rider being made better by riding multiple different horses, I sorta feel like a horse gets better by being able to be ridden by multiple riders.
Though maybe my opinion was based on always having riders who were better than me hop on my horse.
Gem was always up for grabs, not that many people took me up on my offer. Not sure why, HA! I had people take her on the trail and a few hop her around xc and I always loved watching someone else on her. I never once worried about the rider having a negative impact on her. Mostly I worried they would get hurt or get off and hate me for the experience. Gem was an interesting ride.
With Eeyore…my mind set is shifting. I’m feeling a bit more protective of him and his training to date and finding that I’m not really wanting to share him so much. Which sucks because I sorta promised M I would. Again, where is that money tree so I can lease her a horse for the year?
I think that once she takes a few more lessons on him, I’ll feel better. Nothing bad has happened it’s just…ugh I don’t know. So here’s the thing.
Last night I wanted to ride and M asked if she could join me. Now the plan isn’t for me to lose my riding time each night but instead for her to ride him on the days I don’t up to a max 5 days a week. But for now it’s best to share a bit until she gets used to him.
I hopped on first and took him through our typical warm up for which he was a saint. It was like riding butter. He never once broke gait, tried to take charge of the path or anything. I took him through the trot poles (he stayed in the trot and took them like a pro) and over the verticals (he trotted in, calmly hopped over and then sedately cantered away) then called it good and handed him over to M.
Now this isn’t a rag on the poor girl. She was sore from Monday, the heat is still killing her in about 10 minutes and well…Eeyore isn’t a kid’s lesson horse. I don’t know the horses she grew up competing, but I know my Eeyore and you have to ride him. If he can tell that you are just sitting there, he will take over and you won’t enjoy the experience.
So anyway. I handed her a pliable, slightly pokey horse and what I watched ensue was…well not that.
I stood there watching her ride and it hit me like a sack of bricks. I was watching myself from 4 months ago. He refused to trot and would break to the canter every time. It would then take her multiple laps to get him back to a trot. She tried the ground poles and he launched over them taking both in a large jump stride. He cut the corners. She wanted to try the vertical and since it is only 2′, I figured it wouldn’t kill her. He broke to a downhill canter then super man launched from 2 strides out, landed, cut the corner immediately after and galloped away mildly out of control. She lost a stirrup, took 5 laps to get him to trot (and only did so because I yelled out “Eeyore TROT” which he listened to) and then slid off with a dazed and sorta scared look on her face.
That was me pre Trainer AB. Not dangerous, but not even slightly in control either. And here I was thinking how much Eeyore had changed. How much better trained he had become. I was wrong. Eeyore is still the same Eeyore. I’m not the same Sara.
As I watched this go down I thought “I hope she doesn’t break my horse” not in a physical way but I really worried I’d get on him and have that horse under me again. I got back on him and asked him to trot. And guess what? He never broke gait, went over the trot poles steady and rhythmically, hopped over the vertical from a trot calm as can be. It took a bit louder of a discussion to get that but he settled immediately and gave me what I was asking for.
Walking back to the barn I was filled with mixed emotions. First was a major boost in confidence in my abilities to ride this horse and get what I need out of him. Second was a bit of worry for M and Eeyore as a pair. I told her that she doesn’t have to ride him. She asked about Gem and Pete and I told her Pete is fully retired and is not to be ridden and Gem. Well, honestly if you don’t like Eeyore chances are you will hate her in the arena. I don’t have easy, super well trained horses mostly because I can’t afford to buy super well trained horses. I can afford Eeyore and a whole bunch of lessons.
So I’m not sure what she will do. I told her I can set her up with Trainer AB lessons on Eeyore or sign her up at a h/j barn on lesson horses if she would prefer though she would need to pay for that on her own. If she wants a free ride, Eeyore is what she gets and she will need to learn to ride him. On my end, I admit to being not quite as on board as I was before to the idea of sharing him.
It’s taken me months of hard work, dedication and training to get him to the point where I can start to focus on new tasks: rounding up and “being on the bit”, proper bend, sitting trot work, course work. I have zero interest in back tracking to the half crazed, hang on for survival rides of the past and my interest in watching someone else suffer through that is minimal.
I can now see why people aren’t so apt to share their horse with others.